OVER the weekend, the Department of Health sounded the alarm bells over the surge of Covid-19 cases in Metro Manila and other parts of the country. As of Saturday, the country registered more than 3,000 cases, with similar additional number as of yesterday (March 7).
Many researchers interpret this situation as already the effect of the new variants of Covid-19 known as the United Kingdom (UK) and the South African variants. These new variants were known to be more contagious, though not any more deadly. Thus, we are both struggling to fight the coronavirus and its variants, while at the same time studying its nature and impact in our communities.
The national government started to deploy the Sinovac vaccines from China, and the AstraZeneca from COVAX also arrived the other day.
Bacolod City received more than 6,000 doses of the vaccines and has started inoculation for the medical professionals in order to gain the people’s approval to also do the same once the vaccines are available.
The approach could be to promote the vaccination at the soonest time possible ahead of a possible surge in Covid-19 cases. The problem if the surge would be ahead of the vaccination which is happening since Friday last week.
As another report of mutation in Central Visayas, there is something to watch out for as Negros Island is near Cebu. It could not be denied that while Negros Island which is located between Cebu and Iloilo, would probably be the nearest island for possible surge of cases. Remember that when there was local transmission in Cebu, it took only a few weeks and we also experienced it here in our province.
Although DOH could not exactly point to the new variants as behind the latest surge, the least that they can assume is that people have not complied with the minimum health standards. They knew these assumptions could not be questioned as it reflects the situation on the ground. But I hope the government will continue to update us on this, particularly on the new variants that seemed to be active in terms of transmission than the original virus that has taken the lives of many.
In the same way, this makes up a good reminder that this is not over yet. I knew some friends who seemed to have returned to their normal interaction process and that there is even an absence of compliance to minimum health standards.
Because it is time to go back to school for the graduate and undergraduate students, the Department of Health is quick to remind us that we need to remember that the virus is still around and mutations are possible. We’ll wait and see if the new variants are already attacking us and if true, we are again into strict observance of control measures just like during the time of the local transmissions.
For those in school, studying online is the best option. I told the graduate students during orientation that this is the best time to study because of the situation being our actual laboratory and we are learning from the comforts of our home. When all this will be over, we have something to show that we’ve been productive despite the pandemic.
Finally, I greet Dr. Arjay Alvarado, my former student and now my boss at the College of Arts and Sciences of Carlos Hilado Memorial State College, who celebrated his birthday the other day. It’s from all of us in the department.